BOSTON – During Victim Rights Month in April, Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Victim Witness Assistance Board, and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) recognize individuals and organizations that have made advancements in victim rights and services in the state. John and Magi Bish, founders of the Molly Bish Foundation, received this year’s “Gerard D. Downing Leadership” award for their many efforts in raising awareness of missing and exploited children.
The award, named after former Berkshire District Attorney Gerard D. Downing, is given to an agency leader who demonstrates a strong commitment to comprehensive victim service development and implementation. Following the abduction and murder of their 16 year old daughter Molly in 2000, the Bish family started the Molly Bish Foundation and Lifeguard Center which works to enhance laws, public awareness, and prevention efforts to better protect children from abduction and abuse. The Bish Family continues to advocate on the state and national level for families with missing or murdered loved ones and hosts the annual “Missing Children’s Day” at the State House to mark the anniversary of the Amber Alert System and to support the families struggling with a missing or murdered loved one.
“I am inspired by Magi and John Bish. The Bishes have experienced great personal tragedy and responded by devoting themselves to helping others,” said AG Coakley. “Through their dedicated advocacy, the Bish family has worked to keep countless children safe in our Commonwealth. There is no one more deserving of this very special award.”
“My father would be honored to be associated with the Bishs. Their work to prevent crime, support victims and prosecute criminals was also his life's work. Magi and John’s efforts have improved the lives of countless residents of Massachusetts and beyond. I know I speak for my whole family when I say Magi and John Bish are not just fitting recipients of this award, but heroes as well,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield).
“Magi and John Bish have been extraordinary leaders in their efforts to effect change on behalf crime victims and their families,” said Liam Lowney, MOVA’s Executive Director. “They honor Molly with all of their efforts and have effectively connected with and supported so many families touched by violence. They are most deserving of this award for all of their work.”
For further information on the Molly Bish Foundation and Lifeguard Center, please visit their website at http://www.mollybish.org/ or call (413) 436-5529. To learn more about Victim Rights Month activities or this year’s award recipients, please visit MOVA’s website www.mass.gov/mova or call (617) 586-1340.